Lapvona: A Novel (Hardcover)

Lapvona: A Novel By Ottessa Moshfegh Cover Image
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July 2022 Indie Next List


Lapvona is a truly marvelous and original creation that walks the iconic Moshfegh line of stomach-churning and profound. This book has its underbelly exposed and its eyes to the heavens.”
— Ellie Eaton, Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC

Description


An Instant New York Times Bestseller!

Lapvona flips all the conventions of familial and parental relations, putting hatred where love should be or a negotiation where grief should be . . . Through a mix of witchery, deception, murder, abuse, grand delusion, ludicrous conversations, and cringeworthy moments of bodily disgust, Moshfegh creates a world that you definitely don’t want to live in, but from which you can’t look away.” The Atlantic

In a village in a medieval fiefdom buffeted by natural disasters, a motherless shepherd boy finds himself the unlikely pivot of a power struggle that puts all manner of faith to a savage test, in a spellbinding novel that represents Ottessa Moshfegh’s most exciting leap yet


Little Marek, the abused and delusional son of the village shepherd, never knew his mother; his father told him she died in childbirth. One of life’s few consolations for Marek is his enduring bond with the blind village midwife, Ina, who suckled him when he was a baby, as she did so many of the village’s children. Ina’s gifts extend beyond childcare: she possesses a unique ability to communicate with the natural world. Her gift often brings her the transmission of sacred knowledge on levels far beyond those available to other villagers, however religious they might be. For some people, Ina’s home in the woods outside of the village is a place to fear and to avoid, a godless place. 
 
Among their number is Father Barnabas, the town priest and lackey for the depraved lord and governor, Villiam, whose hilltop manor contains a secret embarrassment of riches. The people’s desperate need to believe that there are powers that be who have their best interests at heart is put to a cruel test by Villiam and the priest, especially in this year of record drought and famine. But when fate brings Marek into violent proximity to the lord’s family, new and occult forces upset the old order. By year’s end, the veil between blindness and sight, life and death, the natural world and the spirit world, will prove to be very thin indeed.

About the Author


Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Death in Her Hands, her second and third novels, were New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of the short story collection Homesick for Another World and a novella, McGlue. She lives in Southern California.

Praise For…


One of "USA Today’s Best Summer Books"

“The disturbing intensity of the novel hearkens to Moshfegh’s acclaimed McGlue and Eileen, but this story feels far more riotous, debauched and voracious.” —Washington Post

“Lapvona
, is hilarious, poignant, controlled, a little nihilistic . . . Moshfegh is sui generis, head and shoulders above most of her peers . . . Moshfegh’s fictions are up to much more. They flirt with nihilism but are elegantly constructed. On the content level, they are crude, but on the aesthetic level, they are refined. The tension caused by this, the friction, is what’s special about them. It is the source of their dark sparkle.” —Oprah Daily

“What impresses here is not so much Moshfegh’s abilities with character or narrative, or even her language . . . as the qualities Lapvona shares with a Francis Bacon painting: depicting in blood-red vitality, without morals or judgment, the human animal in its native chaos.” —The Guardian

“The edgy novelist’s new book imagines a wholly realistic medieval village rife with plagues and schemes and dastardly characters. She has crafted a trenchant allegory of life in these United States over the past several years, not coincidentally also filled with plagues and schemes and dastardly leaders. Moshfegh makes the same old story new by setting it in the past, wielding her pen like an Arcimboldian brush to sketch in the mechanics of corruption.” Los Angeles Times

“The most addictive part of Lapvona is the same thing that draws readers to her other works: how she renders psychological portraits of characters that reflect our own repugnance, and therefore our humanity . . . It’s an exercise that’s compassionate as it is tactful, one in the tradition of Flannery O’Connor or Katherine Dunn, a rearranging of the world so that everyone who's not a freak is the freak . . . She’s always been good about writing about the monstrosity within all of us, and making it normal, even making it kind of fun.” Nylon

Lapvona tells the story of a shepherd’s son who comes fatally close to the rulers of a medieval fiefdom. Moshfegh, following up on her acclaimed My Year of Rest and Relaxation continues to plumb entitlement and class; here, she adds magic and revenge.” Chicago Tribune
 
“Lapvona is a witty, vicious novel, frothing at the mouth at the opportunity to indict all the worst habits and orientations of our contemporary. . . . Moshfegh is one of our most thrilling chroniclers of the abject—she is a delighted documentarian of all the excrescences and defilements of the body which force us to reckon with our inevitable decay, or what the French philosopher Julia Kristeva might term our future-deadness. Perhaps the great evolution at hand in Moshfegh’s ongoing corpus is the fact of Lapvona’s rather full-throated politicism. This is at heart a fable of haves and have nots, of the ways violent psychologies and apparatuses of exploitation—of the poor, of resources, of women’s bodies, of the land and earth itself—constitute a significant stratum, if not the very bedrock, of the human condition.” —The Observer

“Moshfegh has proven herself to be one of the most immaculate crafters of disturbed, unreliable first-person narrators . . . . Moshfegh’s voice is part Dostoevsky, part Poe, and entirely her own . . . If anybody would be apt to get into the weird head space of our current moment it’s Moshfegh.” The Millions

“The author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, EW's pick for the best book of 2018, turns her inimitable lens to a medieval fiefdom ruled by deeply tribal ideas of class, family, and faith. The result reads like a cracked fairy tale, both familiar and fantastically strange.” Entertainment Weekly, "16 novels we're excited for this summer"

“Vividly brutal and low-key fantastical new historical novel . . . Lapvona is a sardonic multi-perspective exploration of a society ruled by barbarity, ignorance, corruption, and religion.” Philadelphia Inquirer’s Summer Preview

“You won’t want to put down Lapvona, a medieval fantasy that feels like a fairy tale adapted by Margaret Atwood or Ursula K. LeGuin.” —Barnes & Nobles, “Our Most Anticipated New Book Releases of June 2022”

“Delightfully weird and full of the richly painted characters and captivating story that makes Moshfegh a master of her craft, this historical fiction throws readers back into Medieval times so completely, you can smell the sheep dung. You'll meet a motherless shepherd, a sadistic lord, a wet nurse with occult powers and a priest whose own faith is tested by devastating famine and drought. Good Housekeeping, “The 40 Best New Books of 2022 (So Far) That You Won't Be Able to Put Down”

“Ottessa Moshfegh brings her trademark brutality to the Middle Ages in this allegorical pandemic novel. . . . interrogating the role faith plays in social and environmental abuses of power.” —Adam Morgan, The Scientific American

“No one is quite who he first seems in the latest wicked tale from macabre master Moshfegh . . . Sculpting an eerily canny fabular world of contrasts and evil, cartoonish cruelty, in her signature way, Moshfegh conjures a grotesque, disturbing story of gross inequality and senseless strife.” Booklist

“At once immensely alien and deeply human, Moshfegh’s latest is a brutal, inventive novel about the ways that stories and the act of storytelling shape us and articulate our world.” Library Journal (starred review)

“Deliriously quirky medieval tale . . . Moshfegh brings her trademark fascination with the grotesque to depictions of the pandemic, inequality, and governmental corruption, making them feel both uncanny and all too familiar. It’s a triumph.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“One of America’s most celebrated authors continues her exploration of what fiction has to offer with a further digression from the standard realist purview and into fantasy. Lapvona promises to chronicle the life of Ina, a blind midwife in a medieval village. Ina’s talent doesn’t stop at childcare, and allows her a special connection with the surrounding natural world. It’s a fascinating premise, and I’m excited to see the yarn Moshfegh is able to weave.” Chicago Review of Books
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593300268
ISBN-10: 0593300262
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: June 21st, 2022
Pages: 320
Language: English

How to read more

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( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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